We recently did a full article about the betting site, and how tilted it was toward Joe Biden. We said we anticipated that the race would tighten as we got toward the election. When we did the article, bettors overwhelmingly were expecting Biden to win between 100 and 280 more Electoral Votes than Trump.
Remember, the site is set up so that you bet some portion of a dollar, in hopes of winning a dollar. So each “market” is priced in cents. For instance, if you bet 50 cents per share in a market, and you’re right, you double your money when the contracts expire.
In our previous article, it cost a lot to bet on a Biden win in the Electoral College, and the higher prices were for a bigger win. There is still a tilt toward a big win for Biden, but significantly less than before.
As of this writing, here’s the rundown:
280-538. . .5 cents
210-279. . .3 cents
150-209. . .5 cents
100-149. . .9 cents
060-099. . .11 cents
030-059. . .8 cents
010-029. . .5 cents
001-009. . .5 cents
001-009. . .3 cents
010-029. . .4 cents
030-059. . .6 cents
060-099. . .9 cents
100-149. . .13 cents
150-209. . .11 cents
210-279. . .7 cents
280-538. . .7 cents
Note that “02” means that the candidate will win 271-269, “100” means a win by 319-119, and “280” means a win by 409-129.
One would think there would be a bell curve, with most bettors picking a certain range, with the rest of the markets going down on both sides. But those expecting Biden to win, think it’s most likely that he’ll win in the 100-149 range. And those expecting Trump to win, expect him to win in the 60-99 range.
This is an odd arrangement. One would expect that most would bet, say, that Biden would win by 30-59, with the numbers dropping on both sides. But there’s a “quantum leap,” from a solid Biden win to a solid Trump win. If you like to bet, that is a great opportunity, since there is so much wishful thinking clouding the betting on both sides.
This can probably be accounted for by partisanship. We want our guys to win. Everybody we know thinks as we do, so it’s only a question of how high the win will be. In this case, Biden partisans are more confident, but not by that much. If you add up the money both sides are willing to bet, Biden is only ahead by 60 to 51. A few weeks ago, it was something like 75-25.
Again, the bets are about probability. They are not betting that their guy will win in a landslide. They’re just convinced that their guy has a high likelihood of winning. This is just a snapshot. It may have changed by publication time, but the movement of money toward Trump has been significant in the past few weeks.
Then, I decided to look at history.
I thought the 280+ bracket was unreasonable, so I decided to look at the last 100 years. For simplicity, I just used the presidents’ initials. You should be able to tell by the year, who it is.
• These TWELVE presidents won 409+ Electoral Votes (or 76% before the total was 538)–That is 280+ bracket:
• These TWO presidents won 369+ Electoral Votes (or 69% before the total was 538)–That is 210+ bracket:
• These TWO presidents won 344+ Electoral Votes (or 64% before the total was 538)–That is, the 150+ bracket:
• Only ONE president won 319+ Electoral Votes (or 59% before there was 538)–That is, the 100+ bracket:
• FOUR won 299+ (56%)–That is, the 60+ bracket:
• TWO won 284+ (53%)–That is, the 30+ bracket:
• NO presidents won by 279+ (52%)–That is, 10-29 bracket.
• And only ONE president won by 0+ (50%)–that is, 0-9 bracket.
Note #1: Almost all the landslides were re-elections
Note #2: Almost no presidents won with less than 60 EVs
I have been wondering why we have two “bell curves.” This list shows that it is not usual to have a close Electoral College win, even when the popular vote is close–or even if the candidate loses the popular vote. Thus, any win will be decisive in the Electoral College.
There has also been a discussion on that site about how high of a popular win Biden could roll up, but still lose the Electoral College. In 2016, Hillary won by 2.1% of the popular vote. However, that was with three well-known third-party candidates. If you remove them, Hillary would have won by 4.7%. This year, we have no big names running third-party, unless you consider Kanye West serious. (Even his wife says he’s mentally ill.)
The point is, without strong third-party challengers, it’s conceivable that there might be a heavy popular vote for Biden and still have him lose in the Electoral College.